Archive for January, 2017

Serena Stands Alone at 23 Majors in the Open Era

What an amazing Australian Open Women’s Final!!!  I have made no bones about the fact that my absolute favorite tennis player of all time is Serena Williams followed by Venus at an extremely second.  After all, Venus was instrumental in the Washington Kastles winning the 2012 WTT Championship in Charleston, SC and I was fortunate enough to meet Venus after the championship match and get a fantastic photo with Venus (that I will cherish forever).

It was truly bittersweet to watch the sister battle, yet again, in the final.  I had cheered for both of them in every single match up until the final and cheering for Serena  final was heart wrenching since I love Venus, the way Venus competes, her consistent eloquence and her massive contributions to women’s tennis including equal prize money and being such a fantastic role model to young women.

It was particularly sweet to sit and watch Venus play Coco at the AO – a repeat meeting of the final event at the WTT 2012 Championship match in Charleston, SC.  The Kastles were tied 15-15 going into the final match – Venus vs. Coco, winner take all.  It went to an event tiebreak and Venus lost the first two points in the tiebreak to Coco.  The rep from NBC Sports told the Sacramento players to put on their jackets for the award ceremony.  I tapped him on the shoulder and said “never count a Williams’ sister out”.  Venus reeled off 5 straight points to win the championship and take the Kastles to 32-0.

Serena is my all time tennis favorite and I am so happy for her.  Sisters rule!!!

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“Hidden Figures” – A Triumph of a Movie

I went to see Hidden Figures this morning.  It was snowing with a forecast of about 1″ of accumulation so I figured there was no point to sit at home and stare at the snow when I could go see the movie I had been waiting to see.

The fact that three brilliant African American women had been an integral part of the success of the manned space program was unknown to me until this movie started to be publicized.

The main character in the movie was Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) who was a “computer” at the Langley Research Center of NACA/NASA in Hampton, VA.  She was the person that did the math to calculate the lift off and landing trajectories for a number of space missions.  Ms. Henson’s portrayal of Katherine Johnson was brilliant and hopefully she will receive a Oscar nomination for the part.

Octavia Spencer portrays Dorothy Vaughan who was the first African American supervisor at NACA.  She was also a pioneer in computer programming with a  specialty in Fortran.  Janelle Monae plays Mary Jackson who became the first African American women to become an aeronautical engineer at NASA.

Kevin Costner portrays Al Harrison, director of the Space Task Group at NASA and does an excellent job of not underplaying or overplaying the part.  Jim Parsons, Kirsten Dunst, Glen Powell and Mahershala Ali round out the cast.

This was time well spent and this is a movie that all young girls should see.  Not just young African American girls, but all young girls.  For that matter all young boys should see this movie to understand that women are just as capable as men in math and science.

My reaction to the movie was surprising to me.  Yes, I was exhilarated to see the role that these unheralded brilliant women played in the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle programs.  But I was also incensed – incensed that the story had not been told a lot sooner.  Thank goodness Margot Lee Shetterly wrote the book and brought the story to the attention of the American people.  Her father was a research scientist at the Langley Research Center and she knew the women in Hidden Figures at a young age.

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